30/07/2015 17:22 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

China-ASEAN trade relations see strong growth

Hanoi, July 30 (VNA) – Trade and investment relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have grown significantly, said Chinese Deputy Minister of Commerce Gao Yan on July 29.

Speaking at the press briefing on the 12th China-ASEAN Expo, which will be held in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region from September 18-21, the deputy minister revealed that two-way trade increased 1.6 percent year on year to reach 224 billion USD in the first six months of 2015, accounting for 12 percent of China's total foreign trade revenues.

Trade turnovers between China and the ASEAN reached 480 billion USD last year, up 8.23 percent from 2013, he added.

Since 2009, China has been the largest trade partner of the bloc, while ASEAN has been China's third largest trade partner since 2010.

Gao stressed progress has been made in negotiations on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) since August, and the deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Launched in 2010, the CAFTA has become the world's largest free trade area among developing countries which has a combined population of 1.9 billion.

In 2013, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed upgrading the CAFTA, with the aim of expanding bilateral trade value to 1 trillion USD by 2020.

Referring to the planned Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Gao said the RCEP has seen remarkable progress in discussing issues related to goods and services, investment and intellectual property.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement among 16 nations, including 10 ASEAN country members, and six partners , namely India, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand, which account for 25 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).